Snakes on a Plane wasn’t just a movie, apparently.
It was a prophesy.
Passengers aboard an early-morning Qantas flight from Australia to Papua New Guinea were likely repeating Samuel L. Jackson‘s iconic lament — “I’ve had it with all these (bleep)ing snakes on this (bleep)ing plane — when they spotted a lengthy python flapping on the wing.
Kudos to the Brisbane Times for the cleverest headline about the fiasco: “Qantas Python’s Flying Circus.”
The serpentine stowaway on the Qantas flight is certainly unusual, and will no doubt give the heebie-jeebies to countless future Qantas travelers, but it’s not the first time a wild passenger has been spotted in the friendly skies.
Here are some of the weirder, woolier, toothier ones:
Penguins on a Plane!
Delta passengers traveling between San Antonio and New York in March 2012 could be forgiven if they thought a pair of tuxedo-wearing dwarves were onboard. It’s not every day you see penguins waddling up and down the airplane aisle, especially when the captain still has the seat belt sign illuminated. The penguins were actually Pete and Penny, a couple of Sea World residents whose trainers were given special permission to let them wander about the cabin.
Penguins: flightless no more!
Crocodile on a Plane!
A snake on a wing is hardly worth worrying about, given the mayhem that a crocodile can wreak on a plane. In 2010, a crocodile reportedly escaped from a carry-on bag during a flight over the Congo, causing a stampede of terrified passengers that threw the plane off-balance and caused a tragic crash that killed 20. The sole survivor said an air hostess spotted the toothy escapee and dashed in fear toward the cockpit, inspiring many other passengers to do the same, which put the flight into a nosedive. The crocodile survived the crash, but was later killed by a rescuer with a machete.
Pig on a Plane!
We’ve all sat next to that tubby glutton whose ample love handles spill over the armrest into our already cramped seat. But passengers on a US Airways flight in 2002 had a bona fide porker on their flight — in first class, no less.
The owner of the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, Maria Tirotta Andrews, insisted that she needed the pig’s loving companionship in order to relieve stress because of a heart condition. Charlotte the pig was presumably better behaved than a lot of the louts back in coach. Will US Airways allow such an unusual passenger again? Yes, when pigs fly. Ba-dum-pum.
Leopards, Panthers, Monkeys and a Bear on a Plane!
In May 2011, a man was nabbed by security guards at the Bangkok airport as he tried to board a Dubai-bound plane with some unusual items in his carry-on bag: two leopards, two panthers, an Asiatic black bear, one macaque monkey and one marmoset. Thai police arrested him on animal trafficking charges, and said the man had “probably done this several times already.” If so, the heartless scuzzbucket is overdue for a gang-mauling by an angry menagerie.